Articles Posted in Unfair Competition

 

South Bend, IndianaFloat-On Corporation (“Float-On”), the Plaintiff, claims to sell unique, high quality immersible boat trailers throughout the United States and in several other countries. According to the Complaint, Float-On has used the registered and incontestable mark FLOAT-ON® (the “Registered Mark”), covered by U.S. Reg. No. 885,333, to identify its boat trailers for over fifty years. Float-On further claims it has expended large amounts of money in advertising its products bearing the Registered Mark.https://www.iniplaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/366/2020/10/New.Photo_-1.pngPer the Complaint, Paul’s Marine, Inc. d/b/a PMI Marine Distributors and Paul E. Myers, Jr., the Defendants, copied the Registered Mark and have adopted a confusingly similar mark for boat trailers – FLOTE-ON. Float-On claims the Defendants intentional and willful selling of their products with the alleged infringing mark has caused actual consumer confusion in the marketplace. Float-On is seeking damages for federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, and counterfeiting pursuant to the Lanham Act among several common law claims.

 

 

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Great Grizzly, Inc. (“Grizzly”), Plaintiff, claims to have sold and imported fireworks in Indiana for over 50 years. In addition, Grizzly claims to have several federal trademarks including the one at issue in this case assigned Registration No. 2,329,220 for “PREDATOR” (the “Registered Mark”).

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Grizzly alleges the Defendants, Winco Fireworks, Inc. and Winco Fireworks International, LLC (the “Winco Defendants”) offer and sell fireworks throughout the United States. According to the Complaint, the Winco Defendants have sold fireworks that infringe the Registered Mark and have failed to desist their infringement after being informed of the Registered Mark. Therefore, Grizzly is seeking damages for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051, et seq. and state common law. Grizzly is also claiming the Winco Defendants violated Indiana Code § 24-5-0.5-3(b)(1) for deceptive consumer practices and committed tortious interference with a business relationship under the common law.

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Indianapolis, Indiana3M Company (“3M”) claims there has been an increase in wrongdoers seeking to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic by using scams including those to price-gouge and offer3M-Blogphoto-use-300x106 fake sales of 3M-brand N95 respirators. 3M claims Defendants, Zachary Puznak, Zenger LLC d/b/a ZeroAqua, and John Does 1-10 offered Indiana an opportunity to purchase 3M N95 masks at approximately $2.82 each, which is more than double 3M’s price.

There were numerous allegedly false communications from the Defendants to various representatives of the State of Indiana, including Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Chief of Staff and the Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, regarding the sale of 3M-brand N95 respirators. When 3M became aware of the alleged price gouging and false communications, it filed this suit claiming the Defendants infringed its rights in United States Trademark Reg. No. 3,398,329 (the “‘329 Registration”) and Registration No. 2,793,534 (the “‘534 Registration”). 3M is further seeking damages for unfair competition, false endorsement, false association, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and false advertising. Finally, 3M filed multiple claims pursuant to the Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act for deception, conversion, and theft.

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Hammond, Indiana – Sundance Botanicals, LLC (“Sundance”), the Plaintiff, allegedly sells and distributes elderberry syrups bearing the mark “ELDERPOWER.” The ELDERPOWER mark was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office under U.S. Registration No. 5,821,635 for “Immune boosting nutritional supplements made from elderberries and organic ingredients” in 2019.

According to the Complaint, The Power of Elderberries, LLC (“Defendant”) markets and sells elderberry syrup with the mark “THE POWER OF ELDERBERRIES.” Sundance claims Defendant knew of the ELDERPOWER mark prior to adopting its mark and adopted the design elements and name for its elderberry syrup bottles in bad faith “to infringe and pray on Sundance’s goodwill.” The Defendant filed a U.S. trademark application for its mark in June 2019. Sundance then opposed the registration of the Defendant’s mark in February 2020. Opposition No. 91,253,891 is currently suspended pending the outcome of this civil suit.

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Indianapolis, Indiana –Boiling Crab Franchise Co., LLC (“The Boiling Crab”), the Plaintiff, filed two separate complaints for trademark infringement and unfair competition alleging similar facts. The first complaint was filed against Defendant The Mad Crab LLC d/b/a The Boiling Crab, Crawfish & Shrimp (“The Mad Crab”). The second complaint was filed against CC Food Enterprise LLC and KC Groups Inc. (collectively “The Boiling Seafood”). According to the complaints, The Boiling Crab owns four relevant U.S. trademarks for “The Boiling Crab” in various styles with Registration Nos. 3,256,219, 4,174,077, 4,491,054, and 5,374,534.

The Boiling Crab franchise, started in California in 2004, has allegedly grown to include locations throughout California and at least four other states. According to the complaints, the Louisiana-style seafood served by The Boiling Crab and the distinctive restaurant décor and menus create a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The Boiling Crab also claims unique trade dress rights in the look and feel of its restaurants.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – KS Equity Company, LLC (“KS”), the Plaintiff, operates a convenience store, Leo’s Market and Eatery (the “Leo’s Store”) in Indianapolis, Indiana. KS claims to own and use the following U.S. Trademark Reg. Nos. 5886802, 5886803, 5892871, and 5962680 (collectively, “Leo’s Trademarks”) in connection with the Leo’s Store. According to the Complaint, KS has also developed trade dress in the unique design elements of the Leo’s Store (“Leo’s Trade Dress”).

KS claims Defendants, RSM Investments LLC, Raghbir Singh, Pushpinder Singh, York Multani, and York Singh (collectively, “Defendants”), operate a convenience store or gas station called Leon’s in Indianapolis, Indiana (the “Leon’s Store”). Per the Complaint, the Leon’s Store is located approximately 22 miles away from the Leo’s Store and uses a confusingly similar name and logo compared to the Leo’s Trademarks. The brand of fuel sold in connection with each store, Marathon, allegedly exacerbates the potential customer confusion between the two stores.

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Lafayette, IndianaLafayette Venetian Blind, Inc. (“LVB”), the Plaintiff, claims it has developed substantial goodwill in connection with its distinctive U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3537759 for the word “Allure” for use in connection with window blinds and treatements. LVB claims that Defendant, Blinds to Go (U.S.), Inc. (“Blinds to Go”), uses the term “Allure” “to sell competing goods to many of the same consumers served by LVB.” According to the Complaint, LVB has demanding Blinds to Go cease and desist from using the “Allure” mark in connection with Blinds to Go’s window treatments, but it has failed to do so.

As such, LVB is seeking declaratory relief that it has superior rights to the term “Allure” and has the right to use the term “Allure” throughout the United States for “manufacturing, designing, and selling window treatments, blinds, shades, and related products and services.” Further, LVB is seeking damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1114 and 15 U.S.C.A. § 1125(a), respectively). Finally, LVB is claiming damages for common law trademark infringement and passing off/unfair competition.

The case was assigned to Judge Phillip P. Simon and Magistrate Judge John E. Martin in the Northern District and assigned Case 4:20-cv-00021-PPS-JEM.

South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Williamsburg Furniture, Inc. (“Williamsburg”) of Nappanee, Indiana originally filed suit in the District Court of Delaware seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement against Defendant, Lippert Components, Inc. (“Lippert”) claiming Lippert’s United States Patent No. 8,739,330 (the “‘330 Patent”) is invalid and/or unenforceable. Williamsburg is also seeking judgment for false advertising and unfair competition as it claims Lippert informed Williamsburg’s customers of the alleged patent infringement and caused Williamsburg to lose sales. Upon motion by Lippert, the case was transferred to the Northern District of Indiana.

According to the Complaint, the invention claimed in the ‘330 Patent for a tri-fold sofa was publicly disclosed, in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public through third parties not associated with the ‘330 invention more than one year prior to the filing of the provisional patent application. For instance, Patrick Hutmacher claims he purchased a tri-fold chair/bed in August 2010 from a furniture store in McHenry. One month later, a person from the McHenry furniture store allegedly brought a second tri-fold chair/bed to Mr. Hutmacher at his place of employment, Flair Interiors, Inc. (“Flair”), in an attempt to supply the products to the company.

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South Bend, Indiana – The United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana entered a Temporary Restraining Order against Darkhorse Cargo, Inc. (“Darkhorse”) and its employees (collectively “Defendants”) regarding trade secrets and confidential information of Plaintiff, RC Trailers, Inc. (“RC”).

RC manufacturLogo-1-300x85es and distributes cargo and specialty trailers throughout the United States. According to RC, it expends a lot of time, effort, and expense to maintain dealer and vendor relationship using trade secrets and confidential business information. RC claims it uses confidentiality provisions in its employee handbooks, passwords, disclaimers on confidential communications, and o

RC’s former president, Defendant Bryan Johnson (“Johnson”), ended his employment with RC in September 2018 and signed an agreement that contained non-solicitation and non-recruitment covenants that expired one year later. After Johnson’s departure, he claims many RC employees were unhappy to see him leave and wanted to work for him elsewhere. In the spring of 2019, RC promoted Defendant Joseph Kiefer (“Kiefer”) from CFO to acting General Manager. Kiefer claims that RC employees were talking about wanting Johnson to open his own trailer company prior to Kiefer terminating his employment with RC in June 2019. Prior to his leaving RC, Kiefer allegedly tried to recruit RC’s sales professional to join Darkhorse, indicating the business would be started by Kiefer and Johnson in the near future. RC claims that unbeknownst to it, Kiefer deleted the post-employment restrictions in his non-compete agreement before signing and returning it to RC upon his departure.

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Terre Haute, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, H-D U.S.A., LLC and Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, LLC (collectively “Harley”), both of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Harley Life, LLC (“Harley Life”) and Bill Lemon (“Lemon” and collectively “Defendants”), both of Vincennes, Indiana, infringed their rights in U.S. Copyright Reg. No. VA 1-987-746 and the United States Trademark Registrations below (collectively “Harley’s Intellectual Property”).

Mark Reg. No. Goods and Services
HARLEY 1406876 Clothing; namely—tee shirts for men, women and children; knit tops for women and girls; and children’s shirts
HARLEY 1683455 Shirts, tank tops, boots and sweatshirts
HARLEY 1708362 Embroidered patches for clothing
HARLEY 1352679 Motorcycles
HARLEY 3818855 Non-luminous, non-mechanical tin signs, non-luminous, non-mechanical metal signs
Trademark image 4465604 Clothing, namely, shirts, hats, caps, belts, jackets, gloves, sweatshirts, lounge pants, wrist bands
Trademark image 3525970 Jackets, coats, gloves, shirts, shorts, caps, hats, headwear, knit hats, belts, neckties, pants, sweatshirts, T-shirts, leather clothing, namely, leather jackets, leather gloves, footwear, namely, boots and vest extenders

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